by Sharlene Habermeyer
Inside: Grandparents are powerful influencers in the lives of their grandchildren. But wait! Are you a long-distant grandparent? Span those miles and get creative with your grandkids today! Here’s a fun way to connect with them—and build their brains at the same time. It’s personalized just for you and the grandkiddies!
Have you ever considered the sobering fact that your “people influence”—those who listen to you, follow your example, and want to be around you, etc., —stretches to only two generations of family members?
Your children and grandchildren…that’s it. Your great-grandchildren will associate you as a picture on a wall.
You can write down your memoirs and possibly affect your posterity, but the real day-to-day impact happens with your kids and grandkids.
However, being able to influence two generations is still a blessing. Think about it. Positively impacting and helping to mold people of two generations is heady stuff!
Grandparents: Powerful Influencers
Are you a grandparent? Do you have grandparents?
Grandparents are enormous generation influencers and can transform the lives of those little people they adore…their grandchildren.
My paternal grandmother, Grandma Peck was the saving grace of my childhood. She was gentle, sweet, and believed her grandchildren were brilliant and would someday walk on the moon. Best of all, she lived 15 minutes from our house. I saw her every week and spent several days with her during the summers. I have nothing but fond memories of this amazing influencer.
My husband’s grandparents lived down the street from him, and he visited them every day. Mark had a very tight bond with Nana and Papa (as he called them) and was closer to them than his parents. They taught him many “firsts,”—fly fishing, pinochle, baseball, and a belief in God.
But, times have changed. The nuclear family made up of extended grandparents, aunts, uncles and other relatives living in close proximity is no longer the norm.
Today, many grandparents travel long distances and make great sacrifices to see their grandchildren, to be a part of their lives and to take on the role of influencer.
When the distance between grandparents and grandchildren is significant, many grandparents put on their thinking hats to come up with creative ways to be remembered by their grandchildren, and to influence them even when they can’t be near them. Most connect through texting, skyping, emailing, sending gifts, phone calls, and the list goes on.
These are all great connectors, but there are other ways of relating that are equally, if not more rewarding. Other unique activities that will form lifetime memories between grandchildren and their grandparents…
Meet Angela and Rick Blesi…
Angela and Rick Blesi of St. Paul, Minnesota are grandparents that love and cherish their grandson. Like many grandparents, they do not live in the same city as Beckett but make every effort to be there for him, even when separated by miles.
They found that books and reading was a powerful way to connect, bond, and engage with Beckett and because of that, their book series, Sticking with Family® Books was created.
Angela recalls, “Following a holiday visit when we were preparing to leave Beckett’s home, he was looking at the photos of past visits from several months earlier. All of a sudden, he lit up and became extremely excited. Trying to find the right words, he said… “Grammy, just remember the “Yester-Times.”
It was his way of telling us he remembered past visits and had great memories of activities we’d participated in together! And that’s how the word, “yester-times” was created and eventually our book series, Sticking with Family® Books.”
A Meaningful Way of Connecting
It’s a long drive home from Madison, Wisconsin to St. Paul, Minnesota where the Blesi’s live. During this drive, Angela and Rick discussed ways they could keep in touch with their grandson since they only saw him four or five times a year. They worried that he would get so busy with other activities and friends that he would quickly forget the fun times he had spent with them.
They put on their thinking caps, and an “aha” moment materialized! Angela came up with the idea of creating a storybook of grandparents and grandchildren doing fun things together.
But the unique part was this: instead of random faces that most books have, they would create blank circles on the pages where the heads were located. Then they would make custom facial photo stickers of a grandparent and grandchild to stick there to personalize the story.
Kids love playing with stickers and this would be a great way to connect a grandparent and grandchild and to remember their own “Yester-Times.”
They tested the waters with Beckett—they sent him a “mock-up” book with photo stickers and he was hooked! While his parents read him the story, Beckett put photo stickers of himself and his grandparents in the book.
The next day he took the book to preschool to share with his friends. But before leaving the house, he covered his arms with his extra grandparent stickers and told his teachers, “I’m bringing my grandma and grandpa to school with me today.”
Creativity: The Mother of Invention
The Blesi’s knew that other grandparents were faced with the same dilemma they had—long-distance grandparenting—so they decided to create the sticker books on a larger scale. Surely other grandparents would like their own “Yester-Times” books to stay connected to those they loved.
They hired a professional artist and illustrator, Kyle Frederickson and went to work. The result—two amazing books that are best described as bold, bright and beautiful: A Fun Day With Grandpa and A Fun Day With Grandma (and more in the making).
The Children’s Writers Guild loved the books and featured them in their November 2017 magazine.
Why are these books totally different from other children’s books?
Sticking with Family® Books create an interactive experience for an adult and a young child. The children create their own stories using photo stickers of their faces and their grandparents and end up with a personalized storybook about them and the activities shared together.
There are many personalized children’s books on the market, but they are personalized with the child’s name, only. None of them use photo stickers of people’s faces.
Think about this: you are reading a story to your grandchild about your adventures together. He is putting stickers of your face and his face on the pages. The story becomes a special memory and a connection that lasts forever!
A Multi-Faceted Grandparent Book
- Colorful, hand-drawn illustrations that relate family stories & activities young kids enjoy
- All people Illustrations (adult + grandchild) are ethnically-neutral
- All grandchild illustrations are gender-neutral (could be boy or girl)
- Each book promotes early communication and reading skills to young children
- Facial recognition is strong with young children and photo stickers help them remember
- Introduces grandparents to young grandkids who may not be familiar with them
Easy Peasy Ordering:
The books are simple to order:
- Go to the website: https://stickingwithfamily.com/
- Upload your digital photos from your cell phone, tablet or computer
- These photos are used to create custom photo stickers that come with each book. Suggestion: try and upload photos where you are looking forward, straight into the camera.
- After placing an order, the website takes you to a Sticker Editing page where your photos (grandparent + grandchild) are formatted into a round sticker shape and uploaded to Sticking With Family.
- The photo stickers are printed (72 total) and included with the book and shipped to you within a few days.
Grandparenting is just plain fun. You get the wonderful job of spoiling these precious kiddies. And you can influence them for good by instilling within them positive values and character traits through your example.
Like my husband and myself, we fondly remember the influence of our grandparents. Likewise, Beckett will forever remember the efforts his grandparents made to develop and nurture a strong relationship with him. So much so that they even wrote books about their experiences together and are now sharing them with thousands!
As a grandparent–how do you stay in touch with your grandchildren that live close by? What about those grandchildren that live in other states? What is your secret to keeping a relationship going? Please comment in the section below.
You can access the two-minute video here
The post Why Grandparents are Powerful Influencers and Great Storytellers appeared first on Good Parenting Brighter Children.
Syndicated with permission of Sharlene Haymeyer of https://goodparentingbrighterchildren.com
Sharlene Habermeyer is the author of “Good Music Brighter Children.” A blogger (Good Parenting Brighter Children) and educator; she has lectured all over the U.S.; holds a Master’s degree in Education and started a community orchestra in 1999. Visit: https://goodparentingbrighterchildren.com
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